Passaro, V., Polotskaia, E., & Javaherpour, A. (2020, accepted). Cognitive routes of algebraic thinking in preschool and elementary school: Litterature review. In The 14th International Congress on Mathematical Education. Shanghai.
Abstract : The gap between students’ knowledge in arithmetic that is developed in elementary school and algebraic reasoning they are expected to develop in secondary school has been identified as a problem area in ICME-13. In recent years, many researchers have been studying possibilities and different avenues to uncover and foster algebraic reasoning at elementary school and even at preschool. We conducted a critical review of recent research that focused on advancing algebraic thinking in young children 3 to 12 years old. To analyze the body of literature, we adopted a developmental perspective while looking for origins of algebraic reasoning within the flow of the development of general mathematical reasoning. We identified three global approaches to addressing the arithmetic-algebra gap: algebra as generalized arithmetic, algebra as a strand within the arithmetic flow, and algebra as a basis for arithmetic. We also identified several teaching approaches and classroom practices reported to be effective to support such development.